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22 January 2021 | Podcasts | Article by Alan Collins

HJ Talks About Abuse: Face Covering Exemptions for Survivors

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In this episode of the HJ Talks About Abuse podcast, Alan Collins and Feleena Grosvenor explore the face mask exemption in relation to survivors of abuse.

Although a vaccine is in sight, it is likely that face masks and coverings will be required for some time to come and it is important to raise awareness on this subject.

Over several months’ rape survivor, Georgina Fallow, has been calling for the government to “educate” the public about face-covering exemptions and for guidance to be clearer in relation to why individuals may not be wearing a face covering.

Ms Fallow wrote a letter to the government, which was co-signed by MP Bambos Charalambous and by charities including Mind, Mencap, Sense and Disability Rights UK, which asked the government to promote the Hidden Disabilities charity’s Face Covering Exemption Card, and to launch an awareness campaign to publicise the exemptions.

Ms Fallow explains that there are a number of people who simply cannot wear a mask due to the psychological harm it causes. She, for example, experiences traumatic flashbacks that are akin to hallucinations. She describes them as “so real as to effectively plunge me back into the worst of the experience”. The flashbacks can be so severe that police officers and paramedics have had to hold her down, sedate her and take her to hospital.

We encourage anyone who has concerns about sexual abuse to get in touch with Alan Collins.

Author bio

Alan Collins


Alan Collins is one of the best known and most experienced solicitors in the field of child abuse litigation and has acted in many high profile cases, including the Jimmy Savile and Haut de la Garenne abuse scandals.  Alan has represented interested parties before public inquiries including the Independent Jersey Care Inquiry, and IICSA (Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse).

Internationally, Alan works in Australia, South East Asia, Uganda, Kenya, and California representing clients in high profile sexual abuse cases. Alan also spoke at the Third Regional Workshop on Justice for Children in East Asia and the Pacific in Bangkok hosted by Unicef and HCCH (Hague Conference on Private International Law).

Disclaimer: The information on the Hugh James website is for general information only and reflects the position at the date of publication. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be treated as such. If you would like to ensure the commentary reflects current legislation, case law or best practice, please contact the blog author.


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